Sadness is easier than joy

  On October 20, the “father of flow” Mihali Csiksen Mihalai died at the age of 87.
  Born in Port Fiume, Italy, in 1934, Mihari immigrated to the United States at the age of 22 and went to the University of Chicago to study and obtain a Ph.D. After 30 years of teaching at the University of Chicago, he transferred to Claremont Research University where he established the Center for Quality of Life Research. In 2000, he and Martin Seligman, an American psychologist who proposed the concept of “learned helplessness”, published an article “Introduction to Positive Psychology” in the journal “American Psychologist”, which made positive psychology possible. Learning this new psychology has entered the field of vision of more people.
  As one of the founders of positive psychology, Mihali is best known for his research on the concept of “flow”. His Flow, Discovering Flow, and Creativity have become world-class bestsellers, especially Flow, which has been translated into over thirty languages ​​since its publication in 1990. The so-called “flow”, in Mihari’s view, is the optimal experience. When the optimal experience occurs, “one can devote all of their attention to the achievement of the goal; there is no disorder to rectify, the ego is not threatened in any way, and there is no need for distraction.”
  It sounds like chicken soup for the soul at first. Before reading Mihari’s works, many people preconceived that the style of writing is biased towards subjective experience. In fact, he has done a very solid empirical investigation. The word “flow” is also condensed from 100,000 survey data. Mihali equipped the subjects with an electronic pager for a week, calling them eight times a day at random times. When called, subjects recorded their inner experiences at the time. Experiments have found that they mostly use these words to describe how they feel when they are at their optimal experience: “as if floating”, “a torrent leading me.” When in a state of “flow,” people don’t feel time and accomplish their goals. Feel energized and content.
  This is what Mihari calls the opposite of “spiritual entropy”. “Mental entropy” is also a new concept proposed by the book “Flow of Heart”. In physics, “entropy” is a measure of the degree of disorder in a system, and Mihari uses it to measure inner order. He believes that our daily mental operation is bound to generate all kinds of entropy, and that people, jobs, objects, wealth, etc. will disturb you from time to time. But happiness is an orderly flow of the heart. A person who has been in a state of “flow” for a long time is more likely to feel happy than a person who is in chaos and disorder. In the chapter “Joy of Work”, Mihali also used the example of Paoding Jie Niu, and Zhuangzi’s thought of “skills advancing in Taoism” is also in line with “flow of mind”.
  Mihari points out that there is a common perception that people who love adventure activities have a morbid need. It may be to make up for the shadows of childhood, or to seek stimulation to escape the pressure of life. But he found that what makes people addicted to adventure is not a “morbid thrill of chasing danger,” but “a sense of having a way to control potential danger.” The interviewee said, “The more and more perfect self-control will produce a feeling of joy… It’s not yourself that you fight against in battle, but the mental entropy that disrupts consciousness. Anyone who has experienced flow knows that the Deep happiness is the result of strict self-discipline and concentration.”
  Occupations subject to the same prejudice may also be writers and artists. Mihari pointedly pointed out, “Some colleagues in literature say that a pessimistic perspective is the answer to life. I think it’s just self-indulgent nonsense. It’s easier to be sad than to be happy. I know some people who have a tragic view of life. People, it is a way of life to escape.” Decadence, emptiness, and despair are not the characteristics of creativity, just as it is easy to imitate the appearance of an artist’s “dissolute body”, it is easy to reproduce the character of laziness and liberation, but the real It is the unseen “flow experience” that makes them who they are.